A London judge has dismissed Donald Trump’s lawsuit against retired British spy Christopher Steele over his controversial 2016 dossier that contained unverified and salacious allegations about Trump’s ties to Russia.
A judge from the London High Court dismissed the data privacy lawsuit against Steele and his company, Orbis Business Intelligence, according to local reports. Trump filed the civil case last year because, in his view, Steele harmed his reputation by peddling “egregiously inaccurate” and “shocking and scandalous” claims about his Russian ties.
Those uncorroborated claims first emerged in the so-called Steele dossier, which Steele secretly compiled on behalf of Trump’s political opponents in 2016, and became public after a media leak in early 2017. The memos claimed Trump conspired with the Kremlin to win in 2016 and that Russia had compromising information on him.
Judge Karen Steyn said Thursday that Trump’s case lacked merit and should be thrown out.
“In my view, there are no compelling reasons to allow the claim to proceed to trial in circumstances where, whatever the merits of the allegation that the personal data are inaccurate may be, the claim for compensation and/or damages… is bound to fail,” Steyn said, according to local reports.
During Thursday’s hearing, Steele’s lawyers said the case was filed to pursue a “vendetta” against him and his company, according to local reports.
“(Trump) has a deep and intense animus against Steele and Orbis, which is reflected in numerous vituperative public statements which he has made since the dossier was made public by BuzzFeed in 2017,” Steele’s lawyer, Antony White KC said.
This outcome closes a chapter in the long-running saga stemming from the 2016 election, which has dragged on through three US presidential cycles. Trump is now the frontrunner for the Republican nomination in 2024.
The central allegations in the dossier – of Trump-Russia collusion – were given a veneer of credibility by many because they originated from Steele, who had a solid reputation.
But over the years, the credibility of the dossier has significantly diminished. A series of US government investigations and lawsuits have discredited many of its central allegations and exposed the unreliability of Steele’s sources.
For his part, Steele has always publicly maintained that his claims were unverified tips that required further investigation – and were never meant to be released to the world.
“I stand by the work we did, the sources that we had, and the professionalism which we applied to it,” Steele said in 2021 in his first TV interview about the dossier.
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